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There’s history made nearly every night in the NBA and Friday was no exception.
In a marquee matchup between the Mavs and the Pelicans, Luka Doncic and Zion Williamson became the second pair of opposing players, each 21 or younger, to both score at least 35 points in the same game in NBA history, according to Elias Sports Bureau. But they each accomplished more than just that, as you’ll read shortly.
The Lakers beat the Grizzlies 115-105 and by doing so, they are now the third team in the last 20 seasons to win consecutive games after trailing by 20+ points in each of them.
But despite all the record-setting accomplishments, there was another significant injury in the association, and this time the victim was Knicks center, Mitchell Robinson.
Robinson left Friday’s contest with a right-hand injury and it was later reported by the Knicks that he fractured his hand and will undergo more tests Saturday. The setback will sideline Mitch for at least 2-4 weeks, if not longer, and in the meantime, keep an eye on Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson as streamers.
Here are a handful of noteworthy performances from the association on Feb. 12.
Saddiq Bey - The best story from the 11-game slate on Friday is the one most people won’t talk out. In just 27 minutes off the bench, first-year guard Saddiq Bey lit up the Boston Celtics for career-highs with 30 points and 12 rebounds on 10-of-12 shooting and a flawless 7-of-7 from deep. His boiling 3-point display put him in a class of his own, too, as he became the first rookie to make seven triples in a game without a miss, per ESPN Stats and Info. Bey’s 30 points surpassed his previous season-high of 20, and since the month began, he’s posted four double-digit scoring nights in six games and is shooting 43% from distance on 28 attempts. He’s hot right now, and even if this ends up being his highest-scoring mark of the year, he should get significant playing time with the departure of Derrick Rose and especially if a contending team inquiries about veteran shooter Wayne Ellington before the trade deadline. Bey is only rostered in 3% of Yahoo leagues.
Zion Williamson & Luka Doncic - Two of the NBA’s premier players faced off on Friday night in a game that rang up 273 combined points, smashing the 234 over/under spread. Doncic dropped a career-high 46 points vs the Pelicans, adding eight boards, 12 dimes, a steal and a block. He made 17-of-30 field goals, 5-of-8 triples and 7-of-9 free throws in the Mavs 143-130 win. To cap off his night, the Slovenian sensation became the third-fastest player to notch 4,000 career points, doing so in 159 games. But like Luka, Zion reached a milestone, scoring his 1,000th career point in just his 44th game, becoming the fifth player in the past 40 years to accomplish that feat. And he did it by making 14-of-15 shots and 8-of-11 free throws en route to 36 points, two boards, four assists and two steals in 37 minutes. He’s shooting 60% from the floor this season and is barely scratching the surface of his potential. The league is in good hands with these two.
Jakob Poeltl - I wrote about the Spurs center in my “Injury Impact” column earlier this week, suggesting he was a good pickup with LaMarcus Aldridge (hip) sidelined. On Friday, he backed me up by posting 14 points on a perfect 7-of-7 shooting with 12 rebounds, an assist, three steals and four blocks. It’s the third time he’s swatted four shots in February and he’s scored at least 14 points in each of those contests, too. What I should’ve mentioned about Poeltl, however, is that he’s extremely up-and-down. Over his last six games, he’s tallied point totals of six, 19, two, 14, four and 14. Clearly inconsistent, but he is averaging 8.8 rebounds and 2.8 blocks in that span, which makes him worth rostering and holding on to at least until Aldridge returns. Poeltl is sitting on waivers in 62% of Yahoo leagues.
Joe Ingles - You’re probably just as happy I am if you picked up Joe Ingles prior to Friday’s game. The Aussie had another big performance, pouring in a season-high 27 points three days after posting a now previous season-high 24 points. He knocked down 8-of-11 field goals, seven 3-pointers and 4-of-4 free throws as the Jazz beat the Bucks 129-115. It was their sixth consecutive win as they continue to sit atop the NBA with a 21-5 record, and Ingles’ recent play has contributed to their success. He has 51 points in his last two contests and over his last four, he’s recorded 17 points, 4.7 rebounds, 6.2 assists on 50% shooting with 15 made triples. It’s the most consistent he’s played in 2020-21, and it’s come at a time when Mike Conley (hamstring) has been sidelined for three games in a row. But even Conley returns, Quinn Snyder has to consider leaving Ingles in the starting lineup. He’s a better fit alongside Donovan Mitchell in the backcourt as he allows Spida to run point guard instead of playing off the ball with the veteran Conley. It’s a tough choice that Snyder will have to make soon, but if Ingles keeps playing like he is, he should be snatched off waivers immediately. He’s up for grabs in over half of Yahoo leagues at the moment.
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RJ Barrett - It had been a mediocre week for the 2019 No. 3 overall pick and that trend continued vs the Wizards. The Knicks won the game, but Barrett went 3-of-13 from the floor and finished with just eight points in 26 minutes. In the past three games, he totaled a lousy 24 points on 9-of-33 shooting with only a pair of 3-pointers. This isn’t just a slump, however, as he’s had multiple stretches of inconsistency this season. Prior to his current three-game skid, Barrett had scored 14+ in six straight contests and in 12 of his last 13. But in four games from Jan. 6 to Jan. 11, he averaged 12 points on a 30% clip with just one 3-pointer. It’s no surprise that he ranks outside the top-200 in 9-cat this year.
Robert Covington - The Blazers gave up two first-rounders to acquire RoCo from the Rockets but hopefully you didn’t do the same in your fantasy league. He had just three points, four rebounds and a block vs. the Cavs on Friday night. And I know he’s a great defender and one of those players whose impact isn’t reflected in the box score, but for fantasy basketball purposes, Bob Covington is simply unreliable on offense. He’s only tallied 10 points over the past seven days and shot 3-of-12 from beyond the arc. Furthermore, he’s only topped 10 points four times this year and is shooting a career-low 30% from deep on 5.3 attempts per game. It’s not all bad, however, as the first-year Blazer is accumulating 6.1 rebounds and 1.6 steals a night. But his 7.4 points average is the worst since his rookie season in 2013-14 and for some reason, Covington is still rostered in 82% of leagues. If you’re in a 10-team format, don’t feel bad about cutting ties with the wing.